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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

July 16, 2014 Natural gas-rich Texas city rejects partial fracking ban; petition heads to voters

Source: US News

DENTON, Texas (AP) — The council governing a North Texas city that sits atop a large natural gas reserve rejected a bid early Wednesday morning to ban further permitting of hydraulic fracturing in the community after eight hours...

July 16, 2014 Lake Mead reservoir drops to record low

Source: The Desert News

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country, has dropped to its lowest level since it was filled in the 1930s, a decline that reflects 14 years of drought and a growing imbalance between the Colorado River's flows and the...

July 16, 2014 Texas Or Bust

Ag Web - America's drought continues to expand, and its impact on the nation's cow herd can't be exaggerated. By our calculations, at least 65% of America's cows are in state's currently experiencing widespread moderate to...

July 16, 2014 Calif. OKs $500 fines for wasting water

Source: USA Today

California water regulators Tuesday approved fines for washing cars, watering lawns or hosing down sidewalks after revised figures showed that residents have increased consumption despite calls for big cutbacks amid the state's...

July 16, 2014 Countdown to World Water Week in Stockholm

Evironmental Expert - World Water Week is hosted and organised by the îStockholm International Water Instituteî (SIWI) and takes place each year in Stockholm. The World Water Week has been the annual focal point for...

July 15, 2014 States With Fracking See Surge In Earthquake Activity

Source: Huff Post

States where hydraulic fracturing is taking place have seen a surge in earthquake activity, raising suspicions that the unconventional drilling method could be to blame, especially the wells where the industry disposes of its...

July 15, 2014 Anti-fracking protesters arrested in U.S. capital

Source: Reuters

Two dozen protesters were arrested in Washington on Monday while demonstrating against hydraulic fracturing and the U.S. gas industry's push to sell "fracked" liquefied natural gas abroad.

July 15, 2014 FT series: A world without water

Source: FT.com

In the first instalment of a series on the threat of water scarcity, Pilita Clark describes the cost to companies

July 14, 2014 Southern Australia faces water crisis by end of century due to climate change

Source: The Guardian

A predicted 40% decline in rainfall in southern Australia could mean that the West Australian capital, Perth, will have to rely on alternative sources of water in future, a new climate change research paper warns. The study, led...

July 14, 2014 Heartland Water Crisis: Why the Planet Depends on These Kansas Farmers

Source: NBC News

MANHATTAN, Kansas—Last August, in a still-echoing blockbuster study, Dave Steward, Ph.D., and his colleagues at Kansas State University, informed the $15 billion Kansas agricultural economy that it was on a fast track to...

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